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View Full Version : Which Tripod - Build v Price



Jim Last
11-08-2004, 08:18 AM
Tripods I guess are justs as presonal as cameras :) However, what are your suggestions and factors to consider when drawing up a list of potential suspects?

Ideally I am looking for something that has a reasonably short length when collapsed 400mm to 500mm (16" to 20") or less.

A working heght of somewhere between 1200mm and 1500mm (48" and 60")

Solid build quality with very good stability.

It seems to be that as soon as you get the size slightly compact the legs become flimsy and the stability isn't there, especially if it's a breezy day :)

Any suggestions or help greatfully received :D

D70FAN
11-08-2004, 09:24 AM
Tripods I guess are justs as presonal as cameras :) However, what are your suggestions and factors to consider when drawing up a list of potential suspects?

Ideally I am looking for something that has a reasonably short length when collapsed 400mm to 500mm (16" to 20") or less.

A working heght of somewhere between 1200mm and 1500mm (48" and 60")

Solid build quality with very good stability.

It seems to be that as soon as you get the size slightly compact the legs become flimsy and the stability isn't there, especially if it's a breezy day :)

Any suggestions or help greatfully received :D

I have a couple of "heavy duty" low cost (around $60-$80) tripods that I bought from Ritz/Wolf that work great for day to day use. Breezy days are ok, but they are not that great in sustained wind (20mph+). But then again they are light enough to hook to my backpack.

For true heavy duty you should probably look at Bogen Manfrotto or Gitzo. Unfortunately none of these are cheap ($120 to $600). So far I have not had good reason to spend that kind of money on a tripod (and I beat the heck out of my "cheapos"). I do have a Manfrotto Monopod that doubles as a hiking pole and it works very well (around $90 with a decent ball head).

Hope that helps.

Jim Last
11-08-2004, 09:47 AM
Would you be able to let me know the models?

Thanks :)

Rhys
11-08-2004, 09:50 AM
I've used several tripods. I have a Cobra CT-30 that I bought about 20 years ago. I keep using that. I had a Benbo tripod also. I found there to be no great advantage with the Benbo over the Cobra. The Benbo was very heavy and the Cobra's a lot lighter.

The one thing that influences the stability of a camera more than anything else is the tripod head. Don't go for one of the nasty plastic heads nor for one of the cheap pan/tilt heads. They're horrendously wobbly as are the quick release (aka quick wobble) mounts.

If you can, just get a head that tilts in one direction only and level the tripod using the legs. A head with a built-in spirit level is handy but more expensive than buying a spirit level and gluing it to the head.

My Cobra's not bad but in general I always advise using no flash and no tripod. I do have a small digital camera tripod - the tabletop variety that slips into a pocket. I find they're useful. In general, I'd say head for a short tripod rather than one that will extend to eye level.

Jim Last
11-08-2004, 10:08 AM
I've used several tripods. I have a Cobra CT-30 that I bought about 20 years ago. I keep using that. I had a Benbo tripod also. I found there to be no great advantage with the Benbo over the Cobra. The Benbo was very heavy and the Cobra's a lot lighter.

The one thing that influences the stability of a camera more than anything else is the tripod head. Don't go for one of the nasty plastic heads nor for one of the cheap pan/tilt heads. They're horrendously wobbly as are the quick release (aka quick wobble) mounts.

If you can, just get a head that tilts in one direction only and level the tripod using the legs. A head with a built-in spirit level is handy but more expensive than buying a spirit level and gluing it to the head.

My Cobra's not bad but in general I always advise using no flash and no tripod. I do have a small digital camera tripod - the tabletop variety that slips into a pocket. I find they're useful. In general, I'd say head for a short tripod rather than one that will extend to eye level.

By short, what height do you mean? And is this hight the max height including the column or just to the point the legs meet?

What about using a Manfotto with a friction ball head?

Is it slightly better with a shorter height and 3 leg sections or slightly higher with 4 leg sections? Or even as short as possible with 4 leg sections? :confused:

Rhys
11-08-2004, 10:15 AM
By short, what height do you mean? And is this hight the max height including the column or just to the point the legs meet?

What about using a Manfotto with a friction ball head?

Is it slightly better with a shorter height and 3 leg sections or slightly higher with 4 leg sections? Or even as short as possible with 4 leg sections? :confused:

Ball Heads are very simple. I like them although they can be fiddly to adjust and tracking isn't possible with them.

As far as columns go, my reaction is NO. I don't like columns - they take the stability of a 3-legged support and then add a wobbly monopod onto the top. My Cobra has a column and I never ever extend it! Even a slight breeze will cause a column to vibrate or wobble.

Jim Last
11-08-2004, 10:21 AM
So we are aiming for the height we want from the leg extention only.

Ignore column extention because of stability.

A head that will pan and tilt in one direction.

Spirit level would be a bonus.

Any views on the 3 section v 4 section?

And what height is optimum for a mix of landscape and interior building shots?

Rhys
11-08-2004, 11:34 AM
So we are aiming for the height we want from the leg extention only.

Ignore column extention because of stability.

A head that will pan and tilt in one direction.

Spirit level would be a bonus.

Any views on the 3 section v 4 section?

And what height is optimum for a mix of landscape and interior building shots?

I'd say the least sections the better as the click-lock joints can add instability although it has been suggested that leg instability can be reduced by hanging a camera bag from the tripod, increasing its weight and lessening its susceptibility to vibration. I don't know how much the pendulum effect would add to this though. One idea along those lines would be to put an elastic strap from the top of the tripod to your foot, thus achoring the tripod more firmly for optimum stability.

My Benbo was 2-section. My Cobra is 3-section.

I'd say erect the tripod in the shop and try to wobble it. See how much the legs flex too.

Optimum height? Most tripods extend to 3' 6" or 4'.

Jim Last
11-08-2004, 11:40 AM
So your Benbo must be a reasonable length when folded?

I have tried a number of tripods in the shop, only problem is their limited stock. Main reason for posting this question here. Always good to get first hand opinions :) Thanks.

Rhys
11-08-2004, 12:24 PM
So your Benbo must be a reasonable length when folded?

I have tried a number of tripods in the shop, only problem is their limited stock. Main reason for posting this question here. Always good to get first hand opinions :) Thanks.

The Benbo was not just big but very heavy too - and I had the lightweight version!

I'd say have a look at this tripod:
A tripod. I haven't seen it personally though! (http://www.jessops.com/search/viewproduct.cfm?PRODUCT=JESTP323&BRAND=&CONTINUE=false&FEATS=&FIRSTPRICE=0&KEYWORD=&LEVEL=&MODELNUMBER=&NEWQUERY=True&NODE=342&ORD=ASC&ORDERBY=&QUANTITY=40&RECENT=0&REFINE=&SEARCH_FOR=&SEARCHNODE=0&SEARCHURL=dointellisearch.cfm&SECONDPRICE=100&SHOWCASEID=&STARTROW=1&SUBS=&WORD_SEARCH=N&)

Don't buy a cheap tripod. I paid 30 pounds for mine back in 1984. I'd say look at tripods starting at 50 pounds now. Cheaper is most likely to be junk. The same for heads. I have a Manfrotto 3D Super Junior head on mine. It does everything I want/need although it is heavy. 15 years ago, that cost me 40 pounds. Expect to pay about 60 for a decent head. Budget for about 80 - 120 pounds for something good. Don't buy cheap rubbish for three reasons:

It merely encourages the manufacture of cheap trash
You will not be satisifed and will buy another then another then another until you eventually buy the tripod you wanted in the first place!
It encourages retailers to overprice the better items.

Jim Last
11-08-2004, 12:32 PM
Cheers Rhys :)

pwiles1968
11-08-2004, 05:14 PM
The Manfrotto 190 I told you about un the PM is about 62cm when folded, it has 3 section legs goes up to around 130cm with the head, it will also go down as low as 40cm if you want to get down to take photos (flowers etc), it is screw fixings on the joints although I think the new ones are clips.

The camera bag for weight is quite popular and if you are worried about it rocking, then you can get a sort of cargo net that attaches between the 3 legs you put your bag and kit in there, guess that is Ok when you have a ton of SLR kit, with a digital set-up I guess there is not enough weight to make it worth while.

When you find a model you like try Jessops used equipment finder, it will list the kit in all the stores nationwide if you find a piece of kit you fancy looking at they will transfer it to a store near you so you can take a look, you are not obliged to buy and the do not charge, you need to call the store that is stocking it for price and request they transfer it.

D70FAN
11-08-2004, 10:13 PM
Would you be able to let me know the models?

Thanks :)

Sorry this took so long to answer. My favorite pack along is the Quantray/Sunpack QSX 2001. About 20" closed, 40" non-extended, and 50" with the center extended. Everything locks nice and tight, and it weighs about 2 pounds.

Unfortunattely I just checked and didn't see this model on-line, but maybe the stores still have it.

I would suggest you look around for the one that suits you.